Panbo

Thinking big systems, Furuno NavNet TZ included

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Feb 16, 2012
Furuno_NavNet_TZ_ad.jpg

Furuno has been extremely tight lipped about its new NavNet TZ touch systems, aside from the ad, but much more should be revealed in this morning's press breakfast. I'll be there and will report details in the comments section. What I gather so far is multi-touch screens that still have some buttons alongside, including the RotoKey, and are -- according to a couple of the BWI/NMMA Innovation Awards judges, neither an electronics buff -- "very intuitive" and "fun" to use. A much faster processor will be no surprise, nor will support for large SD chart cards and all existing NavNet 3D peripheral hardware.  I'm hoping that Furuno will also reveal its strategy for smart phone and pad integration -- shouldn't a multitouch interface and the company's long love of Ethernet help with that? -- but I have a particular interest in what the black box version of NN TZ is going to be like...

I recently became advisor to a gentleman intent on modernizing the electronics of a beautiful 58-foot fast motoryacht, and that got me looking into the details of the various black box systems that seem appropriate. In fact, he's already had most of what was at the two large helm stations torn out. A pair of Raymarine E140 Wides in each "Himalaya" was considered, but the worry is that they are becoming legacy machines. As I understand it Ray laboriously moved some 1.1 million lines of code into the slick new e-Series operating system architecture which means that when a new peripheral like the CP450 CHIRP fishfinder comes along adapting the old E-Series software to it is a completely separate process that may not be worth the resources involved.
   And I'm afraid that the same caveat applies to Ray's G-Series, which actually would be even better suited to this project. Given the helm ergonomics, the G's choice of keyboards, even a wireless option, would be nice. Plus this owner plans 6-8 cameras, and the G-Series seems to have a neat way of bridging multiple video inputs to Ethernet before going to its choice of high bright monitors. Not that the G-Series wouldn't make a great package as is, but some owners, and this one in particular (I think), want a system that will easily adapt to future developments.
   So how about a Simrad NSO system? Like the G, each processor supports two mirrored monitors, typically one up and one down. Plus Simrad has a new LED backlit monitor series that look great and support multiple camera inputs.  He might also consider four Garmin 7015 15-inch displays. Or maybe Furuno NavNet TZ BB? It's a big decision, and one of my many tasks during the next few days is to do some scouting. Your opinions would valuable too. Without much worry about budget, what would your choice be, emphasis on performance, future proofing, and integration with beloved iPads?

Simrad_NSO_two_station_system.jpg

Comments

Yes indeed! TZ touch incudes iPad streaming AND control. System data on smart phones too. And I'm thinking that multi-touch and a smokin processor is what NN 3D needed to be fully realized.

Posted by: Ben at February 16, 2012 9:17 AM | Reply

I'm a big fan of the NN3D. I had one of the very first units ever shipped, and when I sold my boat last year I kept the NN3D equipment (swapping the RM equipment that was on my newer boat).

My new boat is a 2007 Carver 466. The boat had every option you can imagine, except the Volvo engine displays and they are expensive (and big). I have purchased volvo's nmea interfaces and run them into each NN3D. I haven't seen much data (I installed them when the boat is inside for the winter), but I love how I can customize the displays and have the important items overlay on my chart screen.

I have only 2 complaints of the NN3D MFD's, the boot up time and the time it takes to switch screens. They take forever (2 minutes or so, but I'm not patient) to power on, and the screen switching routine is clunky and slow. I want to quickly switch to a camera view and back sometimes.

I've looked at the new RM units and I like the connectivity features BUT I'm still not happy with the speed of the unit nor the lack of multi touch. I'm surprised how I instantly tried to pinch to zoom!

The Simrad stuff looks really interesting, and I may have considered it if I was buying right now. My chief concern is the charts. I'm not a fan of the Navionics charts for my area. Georgian Bay is made up of tons of little charts, and Navionics stitching has created some inaccuracies. The C-Map method of showing the stitching doesn't look as pretty but it is more accurate.

I think that plotter decision should be based on the available charts for your area and which are best - then pick from that list.

For Canada, the NN3D raster charts and the C-Map charts are fantastic. I have 2 MFD's and run the raster on one and the c-map on the other. the NN3D C-Map chart is really decluttered but isn't missing anything important. I find it gives me the best 'at a glance' view.

Comparing the 3D mode - I actually like how the NN3D does it and find it useful. I get a bigger picture, but more detail of the stuff close to me. I hated the RM E series 3D.

Garmin's 3D seemed interesting in the store, but their charts aren't well labeled for my area (despite being probably the most accurate in some areas. I traveled the Trent Severn waterway numerous times and the only plotter that didn't show me driving on land most of the time was a little Garmin 525). My issue is that they didn't put names on islands or bays in many, many cases.

I'm looking forward to your information on the NN3D touch. If it's faster, then I may get one. I don't know if the touch screen is of much value to me. I find the separate pointer and panning pads to work extremely well and extremely fast. I also find the zoom performance of the NN3D to be very useful for plotting courses on the MFD itself. The rest of the route planning controls are very, very good too.

I've been looking at the 4G radar, and for my uses (collision avoidance) it looks like it would do a better job than my 12kw Furuno. Unfortunately vanity would still likely prevail, my boat would look stupid with a little dome instead of big impressive looking array :)

I should also point out the MaxSea integration for a boat that big. Planning routes on MaxSea is really fun, and with a setup like you're planning, a PC running MaxSea (for planning, or depth charting, or just to use) wouldn't be a bad idea.

There are a couple new PC's from Zotac that are fairly strong (plenty strong enough for MaxSea), coupled with a small solid state drive, would be ideal. They're tiny (about the size of a typical wireless router), draw little power, quiet, and have lots of display options (I use 1 so far as a media centre PC on my boat, connected to my 20TB NAS units so I have all my movies and TV :)

Posted by: Cameron at February 16, 2012 9:27 AM | Reply

I recently went through the same exercise on my own boat spending my own money. The hardware is all in and everything is installed. Next week the new cabinetry is being built for it all. My conclusions were that a combination of MFD's and standard computing technology (W8 + iPad/Android with multiple phone display support) was the maine design requirement. The main decision points for me were ease-of-use for the most complex things (DSC calls, MARPA, AIS targeting, route creating, autopilot engaging) and openness (the ability to move data in and out). Instead of starting with the specific products, I centered around 3 points:

1. NMEA 2000 had to be the main instrument bus and it needed to be standard N2K with standard connections so anything can be easily added. My boat is both a real cruising boat and a lab/testing facility for our products and the integration into other hardware.

2. Non-NMEA data like radar and other high bandwidth items were allowed but it had to be across Ethernet and that Ethernet had to have the ability to co-exist with other Ethernet networks on the boat and not just using some special protocols requiring a second Ethernet network.

3. Everything on the off-the-shelf computer/pad/phone side had to be able to connect into all networks wirelessly. Absolutely no wires except DC + and - are allowed. This allows great extendability for future devices that I can't imagine.

Those requirements limit the actual possible products to just a few companies. We selected one - to be talked about in the future - and it's all working perfectly. I expected more issues but absolutely everything works, even the tough integrated things.

I'll add that devices like Chetco and DMK are very important gateways and we're using both. As a side note, I'm personally upset with NMEA's pressure of Chetco and plan on personally protesting to the poor attendant at their booth at the Miami Boat Show. What they're doing is terrible and will hurt the innovative uses of N2K. Everyone interested in seeing devices able to communicate over N2K with interesting things that the larger manufacturers won't support early should make similar protests to NMEA IMHO.

Posted by: Jeffrey Siegel at February 16, 2012 10:01 AM | Reply

Jeff, it would be wise to learn what happened with Chetco before deciding who to blame. NMEA's demands are quite reasonable, I think. You will find NMEA director in Miami I'm pretty sure. If you need to discuss further on Panbo, please take it to Chetco thread.

I am darn curious about what you came up with for "open system" radar.
Meanwhile Furuno & MaxSea just set a new bar for what's possible with touchscreen navigation.

Posted by: Ben in reply to Jeffrey Siegel at February 16, 2012 11:10 AM | Reply

I think I've done as much as I can do from my boat re NMEA. I have looked into it. I fully want to hear the entire story because from where I sit, it makes me concerned for every developer who wants to use a certified front-end to a product that they're creating. If I'm sending data from the apps I build through a certified N2K device, how rotten and stifling would it be if I had to certify all 6 versions of the app I'm writing?

I never said the radar had to be open today. It has to exist over standard Ethernet using open transport mechanisms. Turning that into a truly open radar is then just a matter of API licensing or reverse engineering through software. My first business in the 80's-90's did exactly that with CT/MR/nuclear medicine. If I was able to do it and get FDA medical device approval, someone's going to do it for radar imagery given the open transport.

Posted by: Jeffrey Siegel in reply to Ben at February 16, 2012 11:48 AM | Reply

There is suppossed to be NavNet TZ info online now, tbough I can't find it from Phone. Link please!

Some notes:
14 and 9 inch wide screen models coming maybe April, blackbox later.
All black all glass face with just Power and Home buttons and Roto knob.
Major Intel dual core processor (Sandy Bridge), WiFi built in.
Viewer app is not just streaming screen, Remote app gives complete control.
MS TZ goodies like free weather download and advanced thermal camera control are in TZT.

Posted by: Ben at February 16, 2012 11:51 AM | Reply

Cameron,

Check out the new version Fit-PC3. Powerfull fanless computers with full HD support, WiFi, BT and more. And yet they draw 7W standby to 18W at full run!

They are used in many racing sailboats. I think they make better boat pc candidates except that, for those oldies who still rent movies on disks, you'll need an external usb optical drive.

http://www.fit-pc.com/web/introduction-to-fit-pc3/

Posted by: David in reply to Cameron at February 16, 2012 12:15 PM | Reply

Ben,

I have been enjoying your comments on the comparisons of the Simrad, Garmin, RayMarine & Furuno products. Not mentioned is the product support which I believe is as much a factor as the performnce aspects of the gear itself. As a dealer for all of the above, we have found Furuno to be unsurpassed in after sales support not only to the end user but also to the installing dealer. I don't believe that Garmin has a program in place that will pay a dealer to go aboard a vessel and troubleshoot a problem.

G. Kevin Savord, Owner
Long Beach Marine Electronics, LLC
Celebrating our 40th year!
6400 E. Marina Drive #4
Long Beach, CA 90803
Ph (562) 594-8888
Fax (562) 799-1102
kevin@longbeachmarine.com
www.longbeachmarine.com

Posted by: Kevin Savord in reply to Ben at February 16, 2012 12:23 PM | Reply

There is a YouTube video up from Furuno detailing the TZ.

Still looking for the power draw numbers with wireless on/off.

Posted by: Scott at February 16, 2012 12:51 PM | Reply

It is at a new url: www.navnet.com

Looks slick.

Posted by: Steve in reply to Ben at February 16, 2012 12:55 PM | Reply

I just checked out the NavNet TZ specs on the Furuno website... 42w power consumption for the 9" Furuno vs. 16w for the Ray e9. That's a big difference for a sailboat.

Posted by: Rob at February 16, 2012 1:01 PM | Reply

Ben, Navnet TZ is fully documented now on the Navnet web site:

http://www.navnet.com/

What you haven't mentioned is whether any of the new capabilities (software, of course, not hardware) will be backported to the existing NN3D hardware, particularly the MFDBB. Any word on upgrades for legacy (that is, loyal) Furuno customers?

Thanks for the update!

/afb

Posted by: Adam at February 16, 2012 1:49 PM | Reply

Jeff,

Did you see the thread on CF?

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f13/nmea-n2k-whats-wrong-with-it-75960.html

I plan to print and hand to the NMEA booth. They have serious flaws when it comes to creating open standards, i.e. create just enough to allow vendors to keep thing proprietary (and call it 'open').

Posted by: DotDun in reply to Jeffrey Siegel at February 16, 2012 3:23 PM | Reply

They look nice, but check out the power consumption. 5 amps @ 12 V for the 14 inch unit, 3.5 amps for the 9 inch. That would be pretty hard to justify on a small or even mid-size sailboat. Compare with 2.8 amps @ 12 V for the NSE12.

Posted by: First Light at February 16, 2012 3:33 PM | Reply

Kevin,

There is certainly a lot of goodness around Furuno. You cite their customer service, which I agree is good, but in the area of software bug fixes, they are very slow. Version 2.07 is a year old, that's a long time to ask users to 'leave off the tide/current overlay as leaving it on causes reboots'. I've reported another bug via email 3 times with no response (even telling me I'm an idiot would be a response, but no acknowledgement at all).

It makes one think all their coders have been working on TZ Touch and letting bug fixes in their current products fall on the floor.

This all certainly comes into play when choosing my next equipment refresh.

Posted by: DotDun in reply to Kevin Savord at February 16, 2012 5:12 PM | Reply

First Light,
Note that Furuno power consumption figures unlike others are maximum draw at max back-lighting, NOT average. Sailboat installations are no more problematic or consumptive than other OEm.

Posted by: Hedge at February 16, 2012 10:44 PM | Reply

Interesting that they're only 900 nit displays and draw so much current? Could Furuno still be using CCFL backlighting. Or maybe these are in fact LED and have a CPU that requires significant power. >>>thermal effect must be massive? Keep nit count low to compensate.
Anybody have any Pricing info?

Posted by: Anonymous at February 17, 2012 9:13 AM | Reply

David,
Those are pretty nice little machines! They're a little underpowered for use as a media centre machine. I don't think they have HDMI out, and they don't appear to have enough power to play a bluray movie. For the cost, the newer Zotac machines are pretty hard to beat. The one I bought was $250 without disk or ram. I added 8gb of ram and a small solid state hard disk. It boots from cold in about 20 seconds, and it plays anything. It's a bit overkill as a media centre but because I have such a large collection of movies, the extra ram allows it to load and scroll around quickly.

I also work from my boat most of the summer. Much of my work is across VPN's to client computers. At home I have a bunch of computers (my desktop is a Mac but I need Windows for almost all my work). I use VMware to get multiple Windows stations. With this little Zotac, I have my own media Centre, and I've got VMWare workstation running on it also. It functions as an extra windows computer for me when my laptop is loaded up .

This new Furuno stuff is fantastic looking. Does anybody have a price yet?

Posted by: Cameron in reply to David at February 17, 2012 9:38 AM | Reply

Does anybody know if the new 14" will fit in the same spot as the existing MFD12?

Posted by: Cameron at February 17, 2012 9:40 AM | Reply


I echo the concern for NN3D (black box) customers. When I made the purchase decision (a 3 back box system with all of the peripherals), part of what attracted me was the "no more obsolescence" claim. So, here is to hoping for an upgrade path, for both the touch screen technology and the wireless display to iPad.

Posted by: Rick O at February 17, 2012 2:12 PM | Reply

Nine-inch ($5,695 MSRP) and 14-inch ($7,695 MSRP) displays will be available to consumers this spring.

Posted by: Bruce in reply to Cameron at February 17, 2012 5:02 PM | Reply

Not to change the subject, but very proud to report that Panbo was awarded first place for Online Content by Boating Writers International, like last year!

http://www.bwi.org/news/bwi/best-boating-stories-of-year/

Posted by: Ben at February 18, 2012 9:08 AM | Reply

Congratulations Ben! Not only are your writing skills and content decisions worthy of the award, but also your effective use of a well designed website that is comfortable for the visitor.

Posted by: Del in reply to Ben at February 18, 2012 9:25 AM | Reply

After months of researching current MFD capability in order to make the most appropriate choice, this Navnet offering fulfills all desires. Truly admirable, but beauty beyond reach.

Posted by: Del in reply to Bruce at February 18, 2012 9:48 AM | Reply

Simrad also specifies maximum power consumption, not typical.

The big differende in power consumption comes from the choice of processor and operating system. I assuming Raymarine is using ARM processors and Linux in their new range, as Lowarance and Simrad NSS is doing. Simrad NSE uses an Atom processor and Linux. Touch TZ is running Sandy Bridge x86 and Win7(I assume), this is gives a large hit when it comes to power consumption.

In my opinion Furuno is like when they introduced NN3D too late or too early when looking at the operating system used. NN3D is using Embedded Win XP, but when introduced Win7 was available. Now they are introducing a new system using Win7, while Win8 is not far away. Win8 would have given huge advantages when it comes to integration with wireless devices as well as the possibility to use the same technology platform in a scaled down version running on ARM based HW for mid range units. With the pricing and power consumption of Touch TZ Furuno could do with a mid range low power offering competing with Raymarine and Simrad.

As an EE working with system architecture (HW and embedded SW) for large integrated systems I not very impressed by Furuno's approach when it comes to system architecture. They have good products but if hey had done things smarter they could have introduced several of different tier MFD ranges with relatively limited extra effort. Navico is doing an excellent job in this respect, they use the same technology platform all the way from entry level HDS-5 to NSO, including NSS and NSE series. This also gives the possibility to use most peripherals for all products, the only limitation is memory/processors and political decision taken(like not offering CHIRP for Lowrance).

Posted by: abbor at February 19, 2012 12:12 PM | Reply

FWIW, NN3D is Win CE ver. 5, not WinXP embedded.

Posted by: DotDun at February 19, 2012 4:39 PM | Reply

DotDUn can you show a link to prove that, CE doesn't normally support hard disks/ I was told that it was XCP embedded ( as was also stated here in 2007)

Dave

Posted by: Dave at February 19, 2012 6:06 PM | Reply

DotDun

the MFDBB runs xp embedded

Posted by: Anonymous at February 19, 2012 6:14 PM | Reply

Just FYI, Furuno always post the worst possible amperage draw possible for any of their products, operating at a voltage of around 10.7 volts, right about the time when everything shuts down. Other companies list their current at an optimal 13.9 volts, which is a huge difference. Sorry if this was mentioned in an earlier post, I just got back in the country and typing at a furious pace, ignoring most other posts. My most sincerest apologies.

Posted by: Labozza in reply to Rob at February 19, 2012 7:47 PM | Reply

The 14 will fit very nicely in the 12'' hole, same with the TZT9 to the MFD 8, with just a bit of rasping to accommodate the different shape of the drop in. No starboard frames needed.

Also, to the other people with the question of power consumption, keep in mind the TZT14 and MFD12 also are the power supply for the radar up to 12kW, as well as the 3A for the N2K bus if another power injection point is not in the line.If you aren't running a radar, or providing N2K juice, the draw is dramatically lower. I will test it in the field once shrink wrap comes off. Remember, these specs are for when your battery is basically dead and your alternator/solar/wind power has crapped out. Furuno Electric is VERY conservative when it comes to specifications and limits. I mean, they even strap two 50 Lb blocks of ice to their radar arrays in a wind tunnel to see how much the gearbox can take if the array is iced over in 40 knot winds. These systems are essentially built to Mil-Spec, which is why I trust them in the field not to fail, as downtime is a boat owners worst nightmare, rec or commercial.

Posted by: Labozza in reply to Cameron at February 19, 2012 8:00 PM | Reply

You can check the OS 2 different ways.

If you have (2) MFDs on the same network, set them both for 'Master', you'll get a Win CE error.

Or, open the unit, there is a sticker inside that states Win CE 5.0

Posted by: DotDun in reply to Dave at February 19, 2012 11:04 PM | Reply

I can't state what the MFDBB runs, I'm referring to the MFD8 & MFD12

Posted by: DotDun in reply to Anonymous at February 19, 2012 11:09 PM | Reply

Wish I'd been quicker with this, but, Kevin, you are wrong about Garmin warranty policy. They've had an on board repair program for some time. It only applies to equipment that's been installed by "Garmin/NMEA/ABYC certified entities" but I think that's become the standard, at least for Furuno, Raymarine, and Simrad as well. You can download the Garmin marine warranty here:

https://www8.garmin.com/support/warranty.html

Posted by: Ben in reply to Kevin Savord at February 20, 2012 11:18 AM | Reply

i know mfd8 and 12 run ce

however mfdbb runs xp

(furuno dealer)

Posted by: Anonymous in reply to DotDun at February 20, 2012 3:03 PM | Reply

I also confirmed with Furuno quite awhile ago that the MFD8 runs CE.

My initial check of the measurements on the new 9-inch display is that it will fit into locations previously occupied by the MFD8. Not exactly, minor modifications will need to be made, but getting much closer to my goal of seeing standard form factors which mean that we can upgrade without hiring a machinist or a carpenter. Maybe they will offer a little adapter kit or something. But for the moment, congratulations Furuno on providing an easy upgrade path.

That said, why did they pre-announce this product? Who is going to buy an MFD8/12/BB with the new stuff announced?

I also agree with the earlier post that Furuno/MaxSea has been somewhere between slow and MIA on software updates. They are clearly stretched too thin. MaxSea has been on v1.9.6 for a long time, and the MFDs on 2.07 for a similar period. Both have numerous bugs and problems. I suspect that all development resources have been focused on Trident and then NavNetTZ-Touch (getting to be a bit of a mouthful). Does this mean that NN3D customers have been left behind, or will there be a "unified" release when NNTZT becomes available?

The products look great, let's hope the delivered product matches the announcements and hype.

Posted by: Russ at February 20, 2012 7:23 PM | Reply

>>>>
Who is going to buy an MFD8/12/BB with the new stuff announced?
>>>>

I would think anyone that wants to save $3K and use the MFD as a "key" for running a Furuno radar on their PC with with Maxsea. I also think we will be seeing big discounts on the old stuff, so the price difference may be greater. I am not sure a touch interface is worth that premium (especially on a rocking boat!)

Posted by: Steve in reply to Russ at February 20, 2012 7:37 PM | Reply

Be sure to check the depth of the new units, they are deeper that the NN3D.

Posted by: DotDun at February 20, 2012 9:30 PM | Reply

I looked at the specs pretty close and they appear to fit previous MFD cutouts with minor mods. Furnuo website says sanding or rasping may be needed for the width and as DotDun noted they're a little deeper.

I really don't know what to think of touchscreen in a boat. I have a hell of a time hitting the right spot when I'm sitting still let alone a moving/pitching boat.

The demo's sure look cool though. What would get me more excited though is Chirp.

Posted by: Jeff at February 20, 2012 10:17 PM | Reply

There will not be any price decreases on the NavNet3D line. And I've already had a few customers who have chosen to go with the NN3D rather than the TZT simply because of their preference over a touch screen interface.

What still makes NN3D such a viable product is it is tried and true, and 4 years after its introduction is still voted as the best MFD on the market by the NMEA. Considering both the UHD radar and sounder modules will be available on both TZT and NN3D, it is simply a matter of a boaters preference of touch/button interface. Keep in mind the Vx2 systems are still wildly popular, after being around forever. The fact that Furuno builds bulletproof equipment is what provides the incentive to someone to purchase a navigational TOOL as opposed to a shiny toy with bells and whistles available from some other companies.

I still plan on keeping NN3D as my 'Go-to Solution' because although there may be some minor bugs like the tides and current issue, at least Furuno makes them known while they try to correct it, instead of ignoring it and letting techs drive themselves crazy trying to cure the problem.

None of the bugs within NN3D have the potential to irreparably render the system useless, and my primary goal is to provide an end user with a system that I can trust to get them from port to port safely. The NN3D has satisfied that goal, and I will continue to consider it as THE MACHINE until there are no longer parts available.

On a side note, for people hesitant to consider the TZT because it lacks a button interface, remember that it has a USB input, providing the ability to use an RF mouse or trackball from KEP to operate the machine when bouncing around a bit.

Posted by: Labozza in reply to Steve at February 20, 2012 10:41 PM | Reply

Also, regarding the question of operating systems of NN3D:

MFD8 and 12s do in fact run WinCE.

MFDBB runs Xp Embedded.

The coolest part however, is that the OS is actually installed on a CF card, not the actual hard drive, which is used for chart storage. This enables the operator to still use the system in the event of a catastrophic hard drive failure, allowing full use of the machine minus the cartography (although the base map is still available) in order to get back to port safely.

On another note, with the TZT, the option exists with the USB port to plug in one of Furuno's MaxSea WorldChart HardDrive right into the back of the unit, and simply unlocking the necessary charts and PhotoFusion overlays to the machine, effectively providing 1TB of storage over the 80GB with the NN3D. A 64GB SDXC will also be used for those who prefer using the traditional method and avoiding a magnetic media drive for chart management. The management itself has also been greatly simplified to eliminate the learning curve of mastering the MapMedia Maze that took a while to master with the NN3D. It's also nice to see the amount of MaxSea TZ GUI features worked into the TZTs, as I've been a huge fan of the MaxSea's software releases. In fact, around 80% of the systems we have put together include a copy of MaxSea TimeZero Explorer to provide both an off-site plotting program, as well as providing an additional station onboard for the like-minded captain.

For redundancy, we've established a standard setup that combines the ethernet connection to the HUB101 or BBWX2 for full integration, as well as using the ActiSense NGT4-USB to multiplex the NMEA outputs of the system in case of an ethernet bus failure, providing NMEA data to the MaxSea PC so that no matter what, GPS, AIS, velocity, wind, etc., are all passed over to the PC if somehow the HUB itself fails. However, I have yet to see that happen with the exception of an unknowing owner managing to switch DHCP masters by accident, but as Furuno preaches, a single point failure is not acceptable. It could just be New Yorker paranoia, but it makes for an interesting configuration that even Ben would be proud of.

Posted by: Labozza at February 21, 2012 12:35 AM | Reply

@Labozza, I have to conditionally disagree with your statement, "None of the bugs within NN3D have the potential to irreparably render the system useless". I found a bug on my MFDBB (OS 1.9.6) that prevents the system from booting when connected to the NMEA2000 bus.

I worked on this with Furuno for a while but we were never able to identify the problem, which seems to occur when devices are added or removed from the bus. This suggests to me that there's a problem with a stored N2K config file on the MFD.

Furuno did not pursue a solution aggressively, and in the end I had to pull the MFDBB off the N2K bus and now only feed it data from the radar, SC30, and DFF1. I'm essentially forced to run two distinct and unconnected sensor networks on the boat, one a Furuno network via Ethernet and the other N2K. While I suppose that this setup is functional technically means that the NN3D bug wasn't "irreparable", it is certainly sub-optimal.

Posted by: Adam in reply to Labozza at February 21, 2012 2:07 AM | Reply

@Adam. Have you tried upgrading the system software 2.07 revision using the COMBO update? Unless by 1.9.6 you are referring the the MaxSea TimeZero revision? Either way, keep in mind that NMEA2000 is not meant to be a hot-swappable network, like you have with SATA HDs. If you add or remove a device while the system is live, it will cause problems. Also, be sure to always run the installation wizard each time you add a device, and make sure your priorities are set correctly. You can download N2K analyzer from Maretron to check your topography, and also speak with Mark Oslund at Maretron Tech to discuss your results.

If you did upgrade the software, I would store your waypoints and routes, NOT the config file to an SD card, and run the COMBO update to 2.07, following the proper instructions here
http://tinyurl.com/7nlow7a

I know you might have gone through this all with Furuno, but make sure you are sending a clean 12V (Not 24V) to the N2K bus, and try maybe an isolated power insertion point in lieu of the pink and green leads. Bad power is the root of all evil, and ideally should be in the middle of the N2K bus to distribute evenly for units with an LEN less than 3.

If you need more assistance, feel free to email me, and I can put you in touch with the software guru at Furuno who was the man behind the curtain for NN3D and TZT. I've never had a problem that couldn't be answered with FUSA, and I apologize for the frustration getting everything to jive. Good luck, Adam.

Posted by: Labozza at February 21, 2012 2:28 AM | Reply

@Labozza, thanks for all of your suggestions, all of which I'm afraid I have tried. (you were right, I swapped MSTZ/NN3D version numbers in my head; I installed the 2.0.7 combo update.) I have a mid-network power tap of 13V, run the installation wizard when possible (when the system won't boot I can't get to the wizard), and have borrowed a Maretron N2K meter to try and find any obvious sources of bad packets, etc.

As for Mark Oslund, we're old friends -- by which I mean I harass him constantly with questions and issues related to all of our Maretron hardware and software. He's always patient with his assistance.

I appreciate your offer of a contact to help resolve this (now quite old) issue. I'll email you offline via the PMC contact page.

Thanks!

Posted by: Adam in reply to Labozza at February 21, 2012 3:39 PM | Reply

Let us not forget that Furuno still sells the Navnet vx2 and offers software corrections when necessary. I am not conerned about abandoning of the NN3D. This is something that is difficult to say about other manufacturers.

Posted by: Arnie Sacnussem at February 22, 2012 9:19 AM | Reply

I guess it's in the eye of the beholder as to when the lack of issuing bug fixes becomes abandonment.

IMO, a year is a long time to wait for acknowledged bugs to get fixed.

Posted by: DotDun in reply to Arnie Sacnussem at February 22, 2012 1:12 PM | Reply

Some bugs are an inconvenience with an easy work around and some are of a critical nature. The tides and currents issue is an inconvenience, but you are correct, it should have been fixed by now.

Posted by: Arnie Sacnussem at February 22, 2012 3:21 PM | Reply

Good video about the two new Furuno iThing apps is now up at Cruising World:

http://www.cruisingworld.com/videos/all/furunoipadcwsw

Note that the Viewer app can display all sorts of stuff independently of the what's on the NavNet TZ screen, and can also run on multiple phones and pads at once. Meanwhile, the Remote app can only run on one pad at a time. Isn't that a good model for all the MFD manufacturers?

Posted by: Ben at February 25, 2012 12:43 PM | Reply

Ben, this model makes a lot of sense and hopefully will become an industry norm.

Any word from your sources on a software upgrade path from NN3D BB to NNTZ BB?

Thanks!

Posted by: Adam in reply to Ben at February 25, 2012 9:48 PM | Reply

any idea on when the TZ Mapmedia charts will be updated? It seems they are long in the tooth. I was told it would be on a 3 month cycle, but I haven't seen it happen. Is it a yearly cycle?

Posted by: Don Joyce at February 26, 2012 8:54 AM | Reply

I can't answer that, Don, but updating is an issue with Mapmedia since they reprocess other company's chart data. However, it could get much easier with TZ Touch, as the charts all live on a big SD card or optional USB hard drive.

Posted by: Ben in reply to Don Joyce at February 27, 2012 1:47 PM | Reply

Update on TZT max power usage:

"The max power consumption is now officially 60 watts for the 14 and 42 watts for the 9...In our typical conservative fashion, the original prototypes actually had cold-start heating plates in them to meet a specification for a country in Scandinavia but they were removed for the production units because both MFDs passed the verification tests without the heaters."

I also learned that TZT is designed to have all MFDs tee to a common NMEA 2000 backbone and it supports N2K AIS.

Posted by: Ben at February 27, 2012 1:50 PM | Reply

Ben, does your last sentence mean that the new units can be connected to both Ethernet and N2K without creating data loop problems?

Posted by: Adam in reply to Ben at February 29, 2012 6:46 AM | Reply

That's correct, Adam. This is from Furuno Senior Product Manager Eric Kunz:

"For Navnet TZ Touch, we removed the NN3D NMEA2000 Bridging functionality. All of the MFDs attach to both the Wired Ethernet and NMEA2000 networks. TZ Touch also supports NMEA2000 AIS PGNs.

This was done to simplify installations and make the system more in line with our competitors. I still believe that there is merit to the original NN3D NMEA2000 architecture and depending on how the future goes we could re-implement it as we have the processor power to run the bridging layer."

Posted by: Ben in reply to Adam at February 29, 2012 7:08 AM | Reply

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